RyanAir Makes Predictable Contribution To The Ongoing 'Passengers Of Size' Debate
Whether it's because customer complaints finally reached critical mass or because they're desperate for new revenue, more and more airlines are forcing overweight passengers to buy multiple seats.
As a formal matter in their Contracts of Carriage, almost all airlines have stipulations that passengers have to pay for what they occupy. But most carriers never really enforced those policies. Sometimes it was because airport employees didn't want to embarrass overweight passengers. Often it was because it's easier to get those passengers on the plane and make it somebody else's problem, where that "somebody else" was the unlucky soul in the next seat.
In any case, corporations like US Air routinely acknowledged the policy but never really stuck to it. In 2002 Virgin Atlantic had to pay a huge settlement to a passenger who was permanently crippled by an obese rowmate who physically crushed her over the course of a Trans-Atlantic flight.
Until recently, in fact, only Southwest consistently forced customers above a certain weight to buy a second seat.
Then this month United triggered a controversy when they followed Southwest's lead, although that had at least a little to do with United's "our flight attendants will humiliate you on the tarmac if you don't take care of this beforehand" emphasis.
But trust the delicate flowers at RyanAir to make United's lack of tact look like the height of circumspection. They're actually running a poll about the best way to levy a "fat tax," with promises of reduced fares if their passengers can get really creative and humiliating. Among the more charming options: measuring passengers' BMI and then charging by point; measuring their waists and then charging by inch; and putting them on a scale and then charging by the kilo as if they were freight. Stay classy guys.
· United Forces Overweight People to Purchase Two Seats on Their Planes [Jaunted]
· RyanAir Coverage [Jaunted]